The Community Hub for Basic Needs
Since 1913, United Way of Greater Cleveland has convened, connected, and activated our community to help people in need. We’ve made progress, but rising poverty rates in Greater Cleveland make it clear that a bold approach would be needed to solve the poverty crisis. We needed to start funding solutions to poverty, not just nonprofit agencies.
One facet of United Way’s innovative approach toward fighting generational poverty is the Community Hub for Basic Needs. The Hub provides an immediate, coordinated response to people experiencing homelessness, hunger, or any combination of poverty symptoms.
The Hub’s work for the community is fueled by studying regional poverty trends, providing educational programming to like-minded social services providers, and partnering with nonprofit agencies that are aligned with United Way’s investment goals and community strategies.
The three pillars of the Hub
United Way 211 provides free and confidential 24-hour access to compassionate navigators who identify their clients’ needs, develop plans to meet those needs, and refer them to one or more of 16,000 social service program(s) that can help everything from utility bill assistance and food pantry locations to mental health resources and job-training services.
United Way 211 publishes quarterly reports that track the number of people contacting 211 for help, how many needs they have, and the top 10 needs across 11 categories. The reports also record the ages, zip codes and neighborhoods of people in need. United Way uses this data to help identify who needs help in Greater Cleveland and how United Way can help them.
United Way 211’s service area covers four counties and 1.5 million people in Northeast Ohio. People in need can connect with a navigator by dialing 211 on their phones, using one of the designated phone lines at any Cleveland Public library location, and chatting online at 211oh.org.